Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
(Coccyzus americanus)

Class: Aves
Order: Cuculiformes
Family: Cuculidae
Genus: Coccyzus
Species: americanus
Length: 10.2–11.8 in
Weight: 1.9–2.3 oz
Wingspan:: 15–16.9 in
Feed large insects, caterpillars, some fruits and seeds


Breeding often coincides with the appearance of massive numbers of cicadas, caterpillars, or other large insects
Number of Eggs: 1-5

Official Status:

Proposed Threatened

Life History:

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo develops incredibly quickly. The entire period from egg laying to fledgling leaving the nest lasts only 17 days. On day six or seven after hatching, the feathers of the young burst out of their sheaths, allowing the nestling to become fully feathered in two hours.

Distribution and Habitat:

  Open woodlands with clearings and dense scrubby vegetation, often along water.

Common in southeastern United States, but populations declining throughout range. Rare in West and declining. Gone from some areas. Listed as endangered in California where development is disrupting the riparian woodlands in which it lives.



Adult threats are birds of prey (hawks, falcons, and raptors) and eggs threats are other birds or rodents (blue jays and chipmunks) and development of habitat by humans


Actions / Current Information:


  • News Release: Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Proposed for Federal Protection. Service Seeks Public Comments by December 2, 2013.
  • Question and Answer for proposed Rule to List the Western Distinct Population Segment of the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. (.579 MB PDF)
  • Federal Register: Proposed Threatened Status for the Western Distinct Population Segment of the Yellowbilled Cuckoo. (1 MB PDF)
    For additional actions and current information, visit the USFWS ECOS's Species Profile page for the Yellow-billed cuckoo.

    Conservation Plans

  • Clark County Multiple Species HCP (7 permittees)
  • Lower Colorado River MSCP
  • Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Plan (LCR MSCP)
  • Malpai Borderlands
  • Salt River Project Horseshoe and Bartlett HCP
    Last updated: April 16, 2014